The misadventures of a first time father

Category Archives: The Nursery

A medium-sized package awaited me on the front steps yesterday as I returned home from work, and in it, a visit to the past and anticipation to the future.

The package, with its familiar “half-smile” logo from Amazon.com contained the very first Christmas present that I have purchased for my little boy. At only a few weeks old, he’s too young to know what it is or for him, I’m sure, but regardless, I scurried it away to the top of my closet shelf, where I keep Christmas gifts I want out of sight.

Inside was the 40th Anniversary, hardcover set of Roger Hargreaves’ “Mr Men” children’s book series.

If you’re unfamiliar, Mr. Men was a series first published in the United Kingdom that would yield 49 books total over time. It began back in 1971 and featured characters with names like “Mr Tickle” or “Mr Bump” with colorful characters whose physical form looked like what a child might picture a tickle to look like, or messy to appear.

The books spawned a female version of the series called “little Miss” and continued beyond Roger’s death in 1988. After that, his son, Adam, who had inspired the series by asking his dad “what does a tickle look like?” took over with new stories and characters.

This is a series that i have loved ever since I was a kid, and remember time and again the amount of glee I would get taking one out of the library and looking at the incredibly colorful, very geometric characters in Hargreaves’ world.

They were simple stories, but each one with an important message, and drawn in a very simple style with bold colors that were striking to any child, as well as any adult with an imagination.

My wife and I came across one in our Barnes and Noble this past year that we decided to pick up well before our little guy was born, Mr. Cheerful. We used it one night when he was antsy in his cradle, showing him the bright, colorful drawings splashed across the pages to calm him down. I probably had more fun reading it than he did sitting there staring at me acting so goofy.

Unfortunately, though, we recently learned that Barnes and Noble was no long carrying the books, which made me Mr. Sad.

So, when I saw the 40th Anniversary set containing the original ten volumes (Mr. Tickle, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Happy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Sneeze, Mr. Bump, Mr. Snow, Mr. Messy, Mr. Topsy-Turvy and Mr. Silly) and for the bargain price of just over $13, I could not resist snatching them up to add to the little guy’s book collection this Christmas.

What fun awaits us in the world of Mr Men when he will be able to pay attention to what’s being read to him, let alone when he starts to read on his own. Perhaps we’ll come up with a unique name for him too, like Mr. Yeller, or Mr. Poopy. 🙂

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No, there will be no pillows in here once the baby arrives.

Time is moving by at an alarming rate.

I am unable to fathom the speed with which the past nine months have flown by. It seems like only a week or so ago that it was Halloween night and we sat there, slightly late for our rehearsal of “Arsenic and Old Lace” at a local theatre house, realizing what a life changing moment that little “plus” sign on a stick was.

We recorded a video that night for our kid to one day see, letting them know that, yes, their parents were once young, and what an amazing day this was for us.

As the months moved along, I went through phases of checklists, worried more about what had to be done around the house before the baby than their actual arrival. Then it hit me a few months ago that this was the one shot we get at a first child, that our lives will forever be changed, and that this time together, before the child’s arrival, should be savored.

I took a step back and have been smelling the proverbial roses of each day as best I can.

I admit that this past weekend, as we put the semi-final touches on the baby’s nursery – a few sheets down in the crib – it suddenly just seemed so incredibly real.

It’s happening and happening very soon, and before we know it, we parents-to-be will just be parents.

Where did all the time go?

It’s fascinating that a few sheets on a baby’s mattress could make me feel this introspective, but well, there you have it.

If time is moving this fast now, I’m a little frightened about the years ahead.



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